Thursday, May 24, 2018
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'Swing!' brings brassy big band era to Show Palace stage

HUDSON — The 1999 Broadway musical Swing! doesn't have a story, as in beginning/middle/end, but it does tell the story of some of the most exciting music and dance forms ever created.

The show opens at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre tonight and continues matinees and evenings through June 3. It's the second time around, with the first time in April and May of 2004 being one of theater's most popular, and subsequently requested, shows.

Featuring music by such luminaries as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Benny Goodman and Jerome Kern, Swing! shows all the facets of the fascinating era of the 1930s and mid 40s, from supper club sophistication to bobby socks and saddle oxford energy and GI nostalgia, through dancing, singing, and daring — and dangerous — acrobatics.

"We feel Swing! is a great way to kick off our spring season," said Matthew McGee, who starred in the 2004 version and is directing the upcoming one. (McGee, by the way, is starring in the American Stage production of Rocky Horror Show in St. Petersburg through May 13.)

Reprising her role as co-star of Swing! is Sara DelBeato, who recently had the lead of Tracy Turnblad in the Show Palace's Hairspray and has toured nationally in ARTHUR, LIVE! Ms. DelBeato will solo on I'll Be Seeing You and Blues in the Night and join the company in several other numbers, including Swing It, Brother, Swing; Jumpin' at the Woodside; and Stompin' at the Savoy.

Also starring is Gabrielle Mirabella (Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray), soloing on Skylark and Cry Me a River; Larry Alexander (Jackpot!; television's Guiding Light and Murder One), soloing on It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing); and jazz and R&B singer Edwin Watson (Show Palace debut) featured on Throw that Girl Around and Show Me What You've Got.

The four singers will be joined on the stage by dancers Shain Stroff, Kate O'Connell (Jackpot!), Jarvis Mardis, Maiza Ornelaz (Jackpot!), David Tanciar (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), Lacey Vasquez (Maggie in Brigadoon), Taavon Gamble (Viva Vegas!) and Megan Morgan (42nd Street). Choreographer Andi Sperduti (Sentimental Journey; Kathy Seldon in Singin' in the Rain) will have her dancers doing jive, Latin swing, Lindy Hop, Hip-Hop and lots of acrobatics.

"Audiences who love Dancing with the Stars will not want to miss this amazing song and dance tribute to music that is not merely a series of notes and rhythms, but a state of mind," said Susan Haldeman, company manager. It's about two hours long and has more than two dozen big dance numbers and dance sequences.

William Garon is music director; award-winning designer Tom Hansen is doing sets and lighting.

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